Loud and Noisy Breakfast

Last night, Thursday, my favourite famiy, the McGoldings came over for supper. Robert of this fame wanted to have "breakfast for supper" while we watched the first Indiana Jones movie. Mum Magnolia and RobGold came over first with Edgar the giant poodle and we gardened whilst drinking Pina Colada dacquiris. One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon with my fave people.
Next to arrive was Colin, the 13-almost 14-year old. Then big daddy Andrew arrived with what we were hoping was some big and good news. We had rose "champagne" chilling for this moment.

All the while, we are cooking and talking and laughing and dogs are barking and there is a lot of noise. Really, does it get any better. What a beautiful day!


The End - Pearl Jam

You know how there are songs that are there during the defining moments of your life? Last year, I was going through some rough times, one of which was the illness and ultimate death of my best friend, Milo the cat. Yes, I know, some people may snicker at the grief a person goes through when their animals die. Perhaps snicker is too harsh? Some people don't get it. I can understand that. As long as one is compassionate, that is all that matters.

Milo lasted two weeks after his diagnosis of a particularly aggressive form of adenocarcinoma. I tried to save him. I was unsuccessful. During this time, I listened to The End, by Pearl Jam over and over and over again.

I can no longer listen to this song without falling into shreds. Eddie Vedder captures such melancholy, such pain, such enormous misery in this song.

Well done, Pearl Jam.

Feel good post

You know sometimes when you are feeling blue and you come across something that makes you realise, it's not that bad. Just hang on?

Well, I read this a while ago. And it helped. You may recognise this young man from a little show called Gigolos.

Anyway, I liked the post and I have added it here.


Don't hate, appreciate!

I have been noticing lately, particularly on my Facebook wall, a lot of ... what is the best word? Resentment perhaps ... directed towards those of the teaching persuasion. I notice it now especially during the early humid languid days of July. Sunday nights are interesting. I or one of my kind (teachers, professors, instructors) are out for dinner or drinks with friends when someone inevitably checks their watch:
"Oh crap, it's after midnight. Must go home. Working tomorrow."

Then the look of death:
"You're not, are you? Oh, how I wish I was a teacher and had the summers off!!"

This is always said with resentment.

Yes, I admit, we do get a nice holiday in the summer. Whereas many of my friends, highly educated or trained professionals in their field, be it, plumbers, electricians, doctors, IT people, only manage an inhumane one or two weeks, we are blessed with more time. I will remind us all that one month is standard in Europe. Most civilised.

It is important to acknowledge, however, that we do not get EIGHT weeks off even though it may appear thus. We are working, even if we are working at home. We are planning, creating, photocopying, ordering books, scheduling etc etc. This may not seem particularly grueling to people who still have to get on that metro, subway, tube, streetcar or bus at 7.30 am, but let me remind you that during the school year, we do not work a mere 8 hours a day.

My (estranged very wealthy) brother and his wife used to love taking the piss. They would constantly say things to me like: "Oh, if I had the chance I would go back to school and be a teacher."

Yes, because they just give away Master of Arts degrees.

Must be nice to start off at $60,000 and not work for the summer.

Where is this magical kingdom and are they hiring?

What I would like to remind these people however, is that they are not there when their children are crying in my office, over many things. Abuse -- mental, psychological, familial, sexual. We are the frontline to protect young people.

They are not there when we get home after a 12-hour day and have to: make dinner, help with homework, do laundry, clean the house, do the dishes, walk the dogs, and oh yeah, MARK 40 ESSAYS.

Or 40 EXAMS.

With detailed comments.

Or make notes for our meetings, attend conferences, hold office hours, plan lectures, plan notes, plan entire courses.

We have no social life for 10 months of the year. You must realise we need our piddly 8 weeks of vacay, which isn't even 8 weeks.

Why do you think teachers have such a high burn out rate? Why so many are alcoholics. YOUR CHILDREN ARE DRIVING US MAD.

But I still love my job and feel blessed to have it. I would never ever however deign to put down someone else's chosen profession.

Food for thought?


Let the pity party begin!

It has been a challenging, trying almost year for the peawry. The fun began I would say last August when I posted the fateful "Life is good" status update to my Facebook. I should have known better. I am Greek origin. We do not tempt the Gods like this. But I was feeling good and happy and content about where I was in life. I had just met a lovely gentleman -- or so I thought. I had many good supportive friends -- or so I thought. And beautiful happy healthy pets -- or so I thought. The next day began the lesson which was to show me how wrong I was.

I thought I had been through all the crap already. I lost my parents young, had a very dysfunctional family where none of us every learned how to resolve conflicts in any peaceful form (and that is all I will say about that). One of the worst weeks of my life occured as I drove to my father's funeral, while my beloved dog was in surgery for testicular cancer, while in the midst of a terrible terrible divorce. I thought, "Okay, okay, Universe, I give up. You win!"

I had some peace for a couple of years. I lived with a boyfriend. Then we broke up the same day my youngest brother unexpectedly died. He was autistic but that had nothing to do with his death.

I bounced back of course. What choice do we have really? I threw myself into animal rescue. The best way to forget our own pain is through thinking of others, no? That and work. I adopted another dog. Then another.

And I of course had my amazing cat Milo that was the weirdest most emotional cat/dog I have ever had the pleasure to love.

But then last August I stupidly put that Facebook status up and the Gods punished me for my hubris. The very next day it began. Oh, it started small. I left my bag on the metro ... student assignments, agenda, some money (not much!) a few things like that. My contact lenses. It never got turned in.

A bike got stolen.

I sprained my wrist and had to wear a brace. For weeks.

My cat started to get sick.

The boyfriend started to not care about the cat. And wondered how I could be so upset. "It's just a cat."

I should mention he was moving here from far away to start a new life. That didn't work out.

I had a miscarriage.

A woman I greatly admired and loved died way too soon from breast cancer, leaving a young family.

My cat died, leaving me with a massive -- many thousands of dollars --vet bill. I had just finished paying off my brother's funeral and got stuck with another bill for almost the EXACT SAME AMOUNT. Ah, universe, how you make me laugh.

The cat died in my arms on a Sunday at 3 am.

I dumped the boyfriend because of the coldness and lack of support. I lost a couple of women I thought were friends for the same reason.

Cue me crying, wailing dramatically to the Heavens. Woe is me!!

I continued to rescue dogs because that is the only thing that saved me. I was suicidal, you see. The bills, the bouncing cheques, the venomous reactions from ladies I thought were my friends, the loneliness. I wanted to see my cat, my parents, my brother. I felt there was nothing here for me.

But I learned I was really really lucky. I learned there were a couple of people who cared. More than a couple. One woman, let's call her Magnolia, drove me back and forth to the hospital, even while she had her own kids to look after, her own ailing cat to worry about. This woman is an angel.

Another woman, let's call her Borealis, did the same. She sadly lost her cat shortly after too.

A fellow animal rescuer from New Jersey took pity on my and sent me a package, a gift from the gods, that saved me.

Another woman, let's call her Dany, wrote to me to check in on me when I had disappeared.

These angels saved me. These angels made me see the good in the world, that people do care, that people help each when the going gets tough. That they are not just friends when every thing is good.

For, you see, it is easy to be a good friend when all is happy singing and dancing and drinking wine. It is those who are there when you are crying over your dead parents, or dead baby brother, or dead baby, or dead cat that we must cherish..

I cherish these people more than they will ever ever know. These are the people that can call me day or night, and say, I have a problem. And before they hang up the phone, I will be beside their side.

I am a lucky lucky woman indeed. And I am grateful.


Drunk Woman Washed Up On Beach

Ah, childhood memories of family vacations come by. But, how in the heck did my home movies end up on Youtube?